by Patrick Appel
A reader writes:
Regarding your recent post of one atheist claiming bemusement (and, if I'm reading him right, some annoyance) at the apparent contradiction between being an atheist and spending much of your time involved in religion, I must say that I find it a little surprising to see this classic accusation of dishonesty coming from an atheist.
The post is startling in how well written it is as compared to how childishly bad his reasoning is. Apparently, once you don't believe in a deity, any and all earthly concerns about the real, observable effects of religion in the world we all share become irrelevant.
Since Harris does not believe in a god he should not concern himself over the trifling matter of jihadists flying planes into buildings. Since Hitchens is an atheist the murder of teenage girls at the hands of their fundamentalist fathers, brothers and uncles should be of no concern to him. How indifference towards religion should follow from non-belief in religion is not explained, probably because you can't get there from here.
Later in the post he makes the almost as ridiculous claim that though of course there are people who would like to force their religious views on the rest of us and this must be fought against (gee, I forget, who are the strongest voices against this sort of thing....Sam something, Christopher someone else) the underlying truth of the religious claims on which policies are formed is irrelevant to the discussion. How someone is supposed to make the argument that a religiously mandated death penalty for homosexuality can be argued against without touching the underlying theology and rationality he does not say.
Freddie doesn't care and that's his right, but if he wants to make the argument that none of the rest of us should care either, he's going to have to come up with a better argument than that.
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